In a keynote address at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) Female Farmer of the Year awards, Minister Senzeni Zokwana said women must benefit from land expropriation without compensation.
Minister Zokwana said that the awards, through Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme grant fund- will be increasingly oriented towards capacity building, mentorships and hand-holding exercise for women enterprises.
“This is more important in the context of the current land reform review process which will result in expropriation of land without compensation for which women must be major beneficiaries,” he said.
On Friday night, and as part of Women’s Month, women in agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors were celebrated by DAFF at a prestigious ceremony held in the Eastern Cape.
The awards, which are in their 19th year, pay tribute to the efforts and contribution by women, young females and women with disabilities for the roles they play towards ensuring food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and economic growth in the sector.
Matshidiso Portia Mngomezulu clenched the top spot as the overall winner based on the highest scoring points and cross cutting criteria for entrepreneur.
Walking away with the Minister’s special award for young female entrepreneur was Nosiphiwo Makhapela. While the Minister’s special award for the female entrepreneur with a disability in the sector went to Selinah Mphedziseni Mulovhedzi.
Other winners in various categories included;
- The Best female Worker went to Bhekisephi Banengiwe Xulu;
- Best Subsistence Producer went to Esther Irine Nell;
- Top Entrepreneur: Smallholder went to Leandre Elise Beatrice Mitchley;
- Top Entrepreneur: Processing went to Matshidiso Portia Mngomezulu;
- p Entrepreneur: Commercial went to Maleka Pauline Dorcas;
- Top Entrepreneur: Export Markets went to Noluthando Mbilase.
The annual awards are held in partnership with Total South Africa.
In her address at the gala dinner, Tshilidzi Ramauedzisi, Innovation and Corporate Affairs Manager at Total South Africa said that one of Total’s core values is to have a pioneering spirit, and all the women who had made it to the finalist stage were exemplary of this core value.
“Like Mama Albertina Sisulu, the female entrepreneurs were fighting a struggle – this struggle is against unemployment and a weakening economy,” said Ramauedzisi. –